Former selector Jatin Paranjape, whose tenure just came to a conclusion, has revealed that the selectors’ hands were tied when it came to Rohit Sharma and asserted that they merely ‘followed the process’. Paranjape has further defended the decision to leave out Rayudu from the World Cup squad.
The Indian national selectors met in October, during the latter stages of IPL 2020, to pick the squad for Australia and dropped a bombshell by excluding Rohit Sharma on fitness terms. Rohit, at that point, was warming the MI bench due to a hamstring niggle, and the selectors insisted that they will only add the injured Mumbai captain to the squad if he can prove his fitness, but just days later, the 33-year-old turned up to play for the Blues, leaving the BCCI red-faced.
A month later, despite Rohit having played Mumbai’s last 3 IPL matches with all but no difficulty, the saga is still continuing, with the Mumbaikar, who is currently in NCA doing rehab, facing a race against time to board the flight for the Australia Tests.
Opening up on the fiasco, former national selector Jatin Paranjape, whose tenure came to an end this month and was a part of the committee that picked the squads for the Australia tour, has insisted that Rohit was not cleared physically to be able to be picked by the selectors. Paranjape has also claimed that playing IPL games can’t mean a lot as players tend to get through matches with injections, due to the negligible workload.
“I think it’s a very simple process which is followed. The BCCI physio shares an Excel sheet of fitness status of players. Some players are available for selection, some are not. Once there’s an unavailable for selection remark against a player, you can’t do anything about it and move on to the next option,” Paranjape told Sportstar.
“That was the prognosis on Rohit. I think he played the IPL because only two-three games had remained, so one can push himself with a few injections. The mindset is different, the circumstances are different but going to Australia and having to play 10 more games across formats in the next two months is a different cup of tea when you are evaluating an injury status.”
The Rohit non-selection has stirred controversy, but it still has a long way to go to match the outrage that the omission of Ambati Rayudu from the World Cup squad invoked. Rayudu, who was publicly endorsed by skipper Kohli as India’s No.4, was unceremoniously axed by the selectors for the World Cup, and the decision elicited mob fury. Reflecting on the controversial call, Paranjape defended the decision, but claimed that the team, perhaps, missed a trick or two with the batting order they fielded in matches.
“I think we went with the best squad. The format of a 50-over game pushes you into a corner to have a sixth bowling option because 50 overs is a lot without a sixth bowler. I think may be the batting order could have been a little bit better in crucial games but I don’t think there was anything wrong with the squad that we picked for the World Cup.”